Date of Award

8-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (MPRTM)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Barcelona, Robert

Committee Member

Anderson , Denise

Committee Member

Schmalz , Dorothy

Abstract

Research has shown that many benefits can be derived from youth sports. Practitioners need to be equipped with the skills to provide the best youth sport experience and retain participants. This is of particular importance for females because of their tendency to dropout at higher rates than males. The purpose of this research is to describe the effect that coach-created motivational climate has on female youth athletes' self-determination and goal orientation and how these variables affect their commitment level pre to post season. Research has shown that a coach initiated mastery climate will have a positive effect on girls' self determination, persistence, and commitment to their sport. Seven teams (4 soccer, 3 volleyball) from three South Carolina Upstate Parks and Recreation Departments composed of (n=80) girls, ages 9-15 participated in the study. Participants completed pre- and post-season assessments of their basic psychological needs, commitment level, and goal orientation and an additional post-season questionnaire assessing coach initiated motivational climate. Initial findings indicated that mastery oriented motivational climates are positively related with self-determined motivation, commitment, and intent to play next season. These results demonstrate the need for coach initiated mastery climates in order to promote intrinsic motivation and persistence in female youth athletes. This research may help practitioners foster participant self-determination and retain female youth athletes in recreational sports.

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